Sep 22, 2010

What is virtue and what is sin?

Question asked by a devotee: We have heard many times that if we do punya we go to heaven and if we do paap we go to hell. So, what are those paap and punya?

Answer by Swamiji: Our scriptures have formulated code of conduct according to class and stage of life called "Varnashram Dharm". This code of conduct have an extensive set of rules like always speak truth, never lie, give respect to your parents etc. You can get detail information about it from scriptures like Manu Smriti, Mimamsha, Mahabharat, etc. There are millions of rules. If you are to keep your feet on ground, chant this mantra, chant this one while bathing etc. But the main purpose of all these rules and regulations are to make you work in accordance to the scriptures. If you work in accordance to scripture it will be called punya (virtue) and if you go against, it will be called paap (sin).

But there is one more theory that is the theory of Karm Yog. What are you supposed to do in Karm Yog? Not much. Do whatever is required in your present situation. If you are in family, look after it. If you are a husband, earn. If you are a wife, take care of house. Perform these basic duties. But, while performing these duties, detach your mind from these worldly objects and transfer your attachment to God. Lord Krishna said in Geeta:

manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī maṁ namaskuru |
māmevaiṣhyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyosi me ||

Give your mind to Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me and bow to Me. Doing so, you will come to Me alone, I truly promise you; for, you are exceptionally dear to Me.

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj has written in his Bhakti Shatak:

man hari meṁ tan jagat meṁ, karmayog tehi jān |
tan hari meṁ man jagat meṁ, yah mahān ajñān ||


Karm Yog is when your mind is fully observed in Shree Krishna while performing duties from your body. But, opposite of this, performing devotional formalities with body and attaching mind on world is greatest ignorance.

So this is called Karm Yog - keep your mind in God and body in the world. Rest are actions  in accordance to the code of conduct set by scriptures is virtue and going against them is sin.